Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act Will Remove ATFs Authority To Use The SPORTING PURPOSES Clause
On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced H.R. 2620, the “Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act.” This bill would remove ATF’s authority to use the “sporting purposes” clauses in federal law in ways that could undermine the core purpose of the Second Amendment. Under Chairman Bishop’s legislation, all lawful purposes – including self-defense – would have to be given due consideration and respect in the administration of federal firearms law.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the core purpose of the Second Amendment is self-defense. Nevertheless, many federal laws that regulate the importation, possession and transfer of firearms measure the lawful utility of firearms based on their usefulness for so-called “sporting purposes.”
The term “sporting purposes” is undefined by federal statute and has been subject to several reinterpretations by the ATF and its predecessor agency. Anti-gun administrations have exploited the lack of a clear definition of “sporting purposes” to bypass Congress and impose gun control through executive fiat. The most recent (and perhaps most infamous) example of this was the Obama administration’s attempt to ban a highly popular form of ammunition for the AR-15, America’s most popular rifle.
H.R. 2620 would put a stop to this for good and accomplish the following essential reforms to federal firearms laws:
Eliminate ATF’s authority to reclassify popular rifle ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.” The federal law governing armor piercing ammunition was passed by Congress to target handgun projectiles, but Obama’s ATF used the law to ban common and popular rifle ammunition, including targeting M855/SS109 5.56×45 ammunition in 2015.
Provide for the lawful importation of any non-NFA firearm or ammunition that may otherwise be lawfully possessed and sold within the United States. Over the years ATF has used the current discretionary “sporting purposes” standard to deny the importation of firearms that would be perfectly legal to manufacture, sell, and possess in the United States.
Protect shotguns, shotgun shells, and certain rifles from arbitrary classification as “destructive devices.” Classification as a destructive device subjects a firearm to the registration and taxation provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA) and creates a ban on possession of such firearms in some states.
Broaden the temporary interstate transfer provision to allow temporary transfers for all lawful purposes rather than just for “sporting purposes.”